Sweet Spot Progression

My recommendation to you would be to start at 3x20 - dial the power down if your HR gets above 85%, but complete the interval. When you can hold 3x20 at 90% with a HR below 85%, start doing longer intervals.

Also, here is a technique to keep your mind engaged better: every 5 mins, do 4 min seated, 1 min standing. It really breaks up the intervals - you can toy with variations of it, but it helps me.

Good luck :metal:

1 Like

How often do you guys do a ramp test when pushing out your time at sweet spot? Do you get to 1x60 or some other benchmark then test and start again or what?

Do it as often as you want - sometimes I do this within the construct of a TR plan (I sub-out workouts) and other times I’m fine knowing that if my FTP has gone up and I’m actually working at tempo, my aerobic base is building and I’m becoming faster through stamina/repeatability.

There is so much sub-threshold/aerobic work to do for the time-crunched athlete, none of it is a waste — all of it makes you faster, just in different ways.

In my opinion, unless you’re ramping towards an event and in an 8-10 week window outside of it… push more and more time in zone.

My personal best is 2x90 @ <70 RPM. My FTP didn’t go up, but I went to a 5 day riding camp and no one could hang with me except Lael Wilcox and Dylan Morton (look them up) - I just had stamina for days. Felt like I could do whatever I wanted on a bike…

Lael and Dylan were cool to me. They also dropped me when they wanted… but I got to ride with them🤘


I don’t think you can test just anytime because if you work up to say 2X30 at sweet spot then retest you’re going to have a hell of a time going up to 2X40 at sweet spot whereas if you stay at the same FTP then you have a decent shot at moving up to 2X40.

I don’t see how you can test, say, every 2-3 weeks and increase your time in zone simultaneously. Or maybe I’m wrong about that?

On your 2X90 ride, how long had you been training at the same FTP? I’m thinking way more than a couple of weeks, right?


Yeah - I wouldn’t test more than every 4-6 weeks. Sorry if I implied that. I test a bit inconsistently depending on how strong/weak/consistent my training block has been.

I never start below 3x20 intervals, and I’ll dial the intensity down if I’m really cooking in the last interval… and go from there.


I created my own SS workouts with intervals no shorter than 20mins. One of the things I didn’t like about the TR workouts in Low Volume SSB is the intervals were too short, and intensity too high.

This evening, I have 1x60 at 90% on the cards.


Agree, I normally never start below 3x 18 minutes (that is near enough to 3x 20M). The exception is if coming back from injury or illness when I’m not sure about my resilience or muscular endurance. But a total low is 3x 15 minutes any lower than that and I question my FTP.

If on a good day or after good recovery and good legs, I’ll ride through the recovery valleys and end up with 60 plus minutes. For example 3x 20 minute rbi 3’ becomes a straight through 66 minutes SST, riding the two 3 minute rest periods at SST, after the three interval I normally just chill on the final recovery valley and then do endurance or cool down.

Wow, starting with 3X20’s…at 90% FTP? If so you guys start out hard!

1 Like

Not everyone does that - I failed a 2x20@90% today. I need to reset my FTP so I can ‘walk’ the progression.

1 Like

I started out today at 4x22.5 @94%.
My heart rate was at 83% of max during the intervals.

1 Like

I wouldn’t start with 3x20 at 90%. I’d start with 2x20 at 85%. Then build duration from there, followed by higher intensity.


On my 1x60 today, my HR averaged 83% of max for the duration.

  • 80% for the first 20 mins
  • 84% for 2nd 20
  • 85% for 3rd 20


Great work.

SS is generally 88-95% of FTP, so there’s no problem starting at the low end of it, it doesn’t always have to be on the high end.


Regarding this, how long is too long?

First time doing a longer sweet spot interval, pretty pleased with how this one went!


Great awesome fabulous discussion/topic! Thanks to @agingcannon for putting together the SST progression-https://www.trainerroad.com/app/teams/13459-more-sweet-spot- . Also agree with @bbarrera comments and thinking on this matter. I’ve read this whole thread and for what it’s worth I’ll be working a version of this sweet spot progression into my base plan for 2021 to help with fatigue resistance in long rides (75-100 miles). In general the TR SST plans have been a game changer. I’m a 48 year old masters and totally agree with others though that the TR SSB plans can be way to hard (too high density) to follow without adjustment. So, to plan my year the past three seasons, I simply layout the TR base/build plans (now using plan builder) and cherry pick key workouts and replace others with with less harder stuff like tempo and Z1-2 endurance rides. Planning for a total of 18 weeks of base this year. I’ve had a really good run the past three seasons and this year was especially good using the less intensity, more TIZ concept. I don’t have an official event to peak for but I build TSS and work my plan to be strong by June then work carefully to maintain my FTP until weather turns bad. I ride hard group rides and throw in 1 or 2 races a year for the heck of it. I roll with a 3.6 W/kg but because of structured training and sweet spot development I can hang with 4+ W/kg guys.

FWIW-these things have helped me as a masters in hanging with long intense group rides.

  1. When in doubt, give yourself an extra day, or even two, of recovery before key workouts… you won’t lose fitness, seriously.
  2. Carefully planned longer sweet spot work is a game changer for hanging in hard races/rides, as this discussion eludes to.
  3. The “long ride” is key. @brendanhousler mentions this in his blog and he is a great resource- https://www.evoq.bike/blog/cycling-season-planning. Long Z2 work (4 hours) works wonders for me.
  4. Think and plan for long term success; 3-5 year progression. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
  5. Modify and customize the TR canned plans as needed to prevent burn out, especially for us old dudes… please coach Chad and Amber we want Masters plans LOL!

my 2cents


I’m also starting a sweet spot progression base period for the first time. First week was 2x20min. Last week 1x40min and 1x45min.
I perform these on indoor climbs cadence 70-85? Is this too low?
I read some articles that sweetspot low cadence workouts is good for decreasings Vlamax. But how long is low, and how long should they last? any thoughts?

heck yeah long ride! thanks for the tip and mention!

1 Like